A knock at the door of the family home. An intricately inlaid wooden box opens up with the intoxicating scent of wood smoke, jasmine, eucalyptus oil and sea salt spray.
A fine silver necklace with a glistening pearl lies atop a handwritten note. A birthday wish within an intriguing riddle… and coordinates that point to the beginning of a Mediterranean adventure.
Early next morning a driver arrives, and the family is swiftly chauffeured to a private jet. A short passage and soon the island comes into sight. Gazing down at the dramatic northern coastline and the ancient rock-hewn arms that reach out to plunge into the glistening ocean, the landscape levels to a wash of deep lush green and rusty agricultural lowlands, mottled with the pale rooftops of the villages below.
Touching down on the runway a helicopter awaits the arrival, and a new note with a set of coordinates points to the next destination…
Taking to the skies the real adventure begins with an incredible flight around the west and north of the island. Over the dramatic Sierra Tramuntana mountains… low flying over idyllic coves, traditional fishing villages, high mountain plateaus and peaks, and buzzing over the famous viewpoint and lighthouse of Cap Formentor.
Landing at 1,000 metres above sea level, a delicious champagne brunch is laid out across the smooth slate plateau. A traditional light breakfast of Spanish tortilla, cured meats, and olives from the landscape’s bountiful groves, savoured overlooking the coastline out towards the sparkling Med and the tip of the highest peak in the sierra – an iconic vision within the unique island – the Puig Major.
Nestled alongside the sturdy leaves of the aloe, the children discover a well-preserved piece of traditional Mallorcan pottery, containing their next clue. It alludes to the significance of the ancient towers, once built to defend this island’s borders. Lighting fires in these beacons warned of attacks from marauders.
The Balearic Islands have a rich history, and their sovereignty has been long-disputed. Conquerors aplenty have landed on the rocky shores, from the French, the Greeks to the Romans, the Vandals and the Moors.
Re-joining the pilot, they head north to follow the beacons like joining dots, up the stretch of the mountain range and land at a beautiful finca steeped in history. A 12th century farmhouse built during Arab rule of Mallorca, repurposed as a Jesuit monastery and then lovingly restored to an impeccably stylish hotel.
A quick pitstop for refreshments before jumping onto waiting mountain bikes. Following a trail of clues, they venture along dirt tracks and vast open fields, natural trails through groves of oranges, almonds and lemons, and weave between the gnarly and twisted trunks of the olive trees.
In the heart of a picturesque village the historic square has been privatised especially for an exclusive lunch celebration. With a view from high of the idyllic town, a shaded table is laid with the island’s finest delicacies and a chamber orchestra plays gently in a corner of the square. It’s the perfect ambience for a birthday lunch fit for a queen.
After lunch they take to the water by motor yacht for the birthday’s next chapter – an afternoon of water-sports; kayaking, snorkelling and paddle-boarding. The next clue is revealed within a secluded cave. It alludes to a mystery below the waves and a search for lost treasure.
Secured to an old glass fisherman’s buoy, an ancient bottle encrusted with shells lies 20 metres below the surface… and inside, the final coordinates to the day’s celebratory finale.
The boat sets sail once again as the children learn to use the captain’s navigation tools… meanwhile the parents relax with an onboard massage.
They moor up to the terrace of a local seafood restaurant overlooking the serene beach below. A Spanish guitarist plays while they share an exquisite paella with seafood from the day’s catch.
Desert is served with a final birthday gift; a priceless memento of an unforgettable day.
As the sun begins to lower in the sky, the birds begin to chatter and chirp, settling down for the night. The sky shifts from bright azure to violet, then orange. The backdrop of mountains catch a deep pink glow and the water of the bay reflects the sky’s shades in a silky veneer.
A short drive back through the small island leads to the buzzing hub of Palma, the capital city of the Balearic Islands.
Spending the night in the magnificent Cap Rocat hotel – a former military fortress, nestled into a secluded area of the city’s coastline – the family rest in a luxurious oceanfront suite with panoramic views of Palma’s bay and reflect on the day’s whirlwind adventure. For the parents: a rare treat of pure relaxation, the finest dining and the charm of the Mediterranean. For the children: an island quest and an epic venture.
The following morning a transfer awaits to whisk them back home and normal life resumes once again. The memories now wrapped into a precious photo book, the tale of a fantastical Mediterranean adventure… Based On A True Story.
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Expect elaborate theatrical events, wild escapades and eccentric characters…